Excerpt from the diary of
Colonel William F. Dowd
24th Mississippi, Powel’s Brigade
. . .two batteries of artillery, and a battalion of infantry, and march, as rapidly as possible, to Danville, Kentucky,
The march to begin at four, A.M. o’clock next morning. I had orders He was instructed to send forward a squadron of cavalry towards Cumberland Gap, to ascertain the route taken by Gen. [George W.] Morgan, the Federal commander, and to occupy the country, and select a strong position as depot for supplies. This was accomplished without loss. Colonel [Lawrence W.] O’Bannon came up with the baggage trains. We He sized all of the mills, surplus grain and provisions in the country, paying for all in Confederate money, then nearly as good as greenbacks. The mills ground for us the troops five days in the week and one day for the citizens. The strictest discipline was maintained, and not a single an outrage committed on person or property. A thorough bred mare was found in my lines by the men, and old man in the possession of our officers. I ordered the animal instantly delivered up. I Col. Dowd selected Camp Dick Robinson a very strong position on the east side of the Dicks Duck [Dix] river which had just been evacuated by the Federals. Here an immense amount of provisions, clothing &etc. were stored.
On the 3rd of October 3rd I received orders orders were received to march as rapidly as possible, and join my his brigade, Gen. [Lucius M.] Walker’s, in General [James P.] Anderson’s near Perryville. I reported for duty, on the evening of the 6th. Early in the morning of the 7th the army took up its positions at Perryville. In the absence of Gen. Walker our the Brigade was [page break] commanded by Gen. Powell of Tennessee. It consisted of the 24th Misβ. Regiment, the th Tennessee and th Georgia, Regiments, and a battery of four six pound field guns.
On the morning of the 8th we were posted on a hill on the extreme left,
of our with with Col. [William H.] Young’s [9th] Texas Regiment detailed as a support to a strong battery. About midday the brigade was moved forward within a short distance of the enemy’s lines which were strongly posted on a wooded ridge, with open fields and broken ground between us. About ten o’clock an aid[e] of Genl Braggs ordered our little Brigade numbering less than 1200 men, present for duty to advance and attack the enemy. The advance was rapidly made, in perfect order under a heavy fire of shot, and shell, and rifles; the rough ground concealed the enemy’s their numbers from us, until we ascended a steep ridge about 150 or 200 from his their batteries and line of battle, with a ravine and narrow valley between us. We found ourselves confronted with more than two times our numbers. The crest of the ridge we occupied was very sharp, with a rail worm fence running along it nearly the whole length. Finding it impossible to charge the overwhelming odds a force so superior of the enemy strongly posted and so strongly entrenched, my regiment Col. Dowd promptly was formed behind this fence, and opened fire. The other two regiments of the brigade were on my the right. I He ordered my men to lie down & load, then rise, take good [page break] aim and fire. They were all trained marksmen and the steadiness and rapidity of the this well directed fire told terribly on the enemy. The smoke was swept away by the breeze; the day was clear and cloudless, and I could distinctly see at the short success distance the effect of our fire the fire could be plainly seen. Our gallant little battery, on account of the roughness of the ground, could not render us much assistance; while the enemies [sic] batteries were admirably handled. This unequal contest lasted until about sunset. Our His ammunition was being exhausted, and Col. Powell ordered us gave the word to fall back to our 1st position, which was done in admirable good order. On my the left, there was a strip of woods which was occupied by the enemy, as we our men moved slowly back. They fired into the flank of the 24th my regiment. I ordered a change of front The Colonel changed front and gave them a well directed fire, under which they quickly retreated soon fell back. I He then quickly occupied took possession of his our former position without being disturbed any attempt of the enemy to attack our little brigade. Why our his small number force was ordered to attack so large a force, and why they did not overwhelm us, I never could understand was never comprehended. My The regiment lost had 134 men, in killed and wounded – nearly ⅓rd of all who were present for duty.
Among the slain was Capt. Thos.
Coopwood Copewood nearly upwards of 70 years of age, who had been a distinguished an influential politician, lawyer and planter in Alabama and Mississippi for many [page break] years – a volunteer in defense of his country.
The Next morning between 11 and 12 o’clock our victorious army sullenly retired from the field. We moved to Camp Dick Robinson, then to Cumberland Gap, and Knoxville Tenn. Thence to Tullahoma Tenn.
Here a new Brigade was formed composed of the 24th; 29th; and 30 Miβ. Regiments under the command of Gen
eral E.C. Walthall.
From the John Francis Hamtramck Claiborne Papers (#151) in the Southern Historical Collection, Manuscripts Department, Wilson Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
J.A. (Arnie) Dowd II
5453 – B Coyote Canyon Way
Morrison, Colorado 80465